Use of live decoys for hunting on Malta
The use of live decoy-birds is widespread and usually permitted in most countries around the Mediterranean. The birds are placed in small cages - rarely in aviaries - at trapping and hunting sites and lure others of their species with their singing to the hunters shotguns or into the nets and traps of the bird trappers.
Live decoys are frequently used in Malta. Quails, turtle doves, waders and various thrushes as well as finches are commonly used. Hunters and bird trappers use nets to catch the coveted birds, although the EU Birds Directive clearly prohibits bird-trapping and breeding of almost all species.
Malta bypasses the EU-wide ban on bird-trapping by means of a derogation, allowing the catching of golden plovers and song thrushes with nets every autumn. The nets are placed parallel to each other on the ground and are kept under tension with large metal springs. In the middle of the sites there is food and water, living decoys are placed in the surroundings. When birds settle in the space between the nets, the bird trapper waiting in a nearby hiding hut triggers them. The nets then spring over the birds and catch them alive.